Category Archives: Altered Books

Painting a Cow

Miss E and I were watching a TV programme called ‘Home is where the Art is‘, which had 3 artists pitching to a potential buyer for a commissioned work of art. I asked her, “If you were to commission a piece of art, what would it be?” To my surprise she said, “a painitng of a cow”. Not what I was expecting from an 11 year old.

She had a birthday coming up so ………. off I went trawling the web to see if I could find some inspiration. Hey presto! Kath Dunne on Instagram was the answer. Her work is full of life and colour.

I saved this image to my computer

Kath Dunne

Isn’t it fabulous!!! Do go and have a look at Kath’s other work. She is an Australian artist and you can see her work on her website: kathdunneartworks.com

I wondered if I could paint a similar picture for Miss E’s birthday present.

I tried it out in an altered book to see if I thought I could capture something acceptable

altered book

Hmm, yes, I thought I could, so I started to paint with acrylics on canvas, sketching out the basic shape with thin white paint that I could rub off with a damp cloth til I got the shapes I wanted.first sketch for cow painting

With hindsight, it would have been better to block in the background of the shape of the cow first, in light and dark tones, before adding splashes of colour.

sketch

At this point I knew it was time to put the eye in – yikes – scary – the eye and the expression in the eye can make or break a painting. I needed to have a practice painting to work on alongside this one

practice painting

Gosh I did find it all a bit stressful!

Back to collage and sploshing paint around in an abstract way for a bit of relaxation, for a while – then onwards ……

cows

And here it is, below, the finished painting – I wish I could have captured the look on Miss E’s face when I gave it to her – she was absolutely surprised and thrilled. She said it looks like Clover, her current show calf – so that is the name of the painting: Clover.

cow painting

I contacted Kath Dunne to ask her permission to share my painting with a link to her website and she said ‘go for it’! Creativity and connection across continents – love it!

I’m looking into making a few prints of Clover, let me know if you are interested.

Whimsical Collage: 2

Back in November I went to a fabulous 4 day Mixed Media Collage Workshop led by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Nathalie Kalbach. See my first blog post about it here.

It was such fun getting messy and creating colourful papers in readiness for our first 6 collages. We used pages from old books we had been supplied with – books that would otherwise have gone to landfill. The print adds a layer of texture and interest.mixed media collage workshop

And the books themselves make perfect little sketchbooks to carry around for those odd doodling momentscreating collage papers

Julie and Nathalie have a great way of introducing the theory of colour and composition in fun bite-sized exercises. Julie BalzerIn this one we were mixing tones of one colour using black and whitemixing tones, acrylic paints

no paint was wasted, we cleaned our brushes on more paperusing old maps for collage

collage paperand then experimented with stamps, building up layers of marks, pattern and colour – my memory is a of a frenzy of fun and activity as we all dashed off all these wonderfully inspiring pieces without really thinking

stamping, acrylic

In this way we gradually built up supplies and confidence, moving towards creating pieces we were pleased with.six 6 x 6 collages, mixed media

The background of this one is the newspaper I was using to protect the cloth beneath. I think at this stage it reminds me of textiles …. still more to do in those blue squares, but I’m not sure what yet……

newspaper as art paper

I wondered about adding a little knot of silk remnant

mixed media, sari silk

and maybe some stitching …… hmmm …. not there yet.

Julie’s first Blog post about the workshop  explains the format of Day One and Two.

There is a picture of me (the 8th one in) in pink Tshirt, working away, ( and a couple more later on) plus loads of pictures of fellow students and their work. This blog post alone is inspiring enough to keep me busy for weeks as I remember all I learnt and discovered.

And then we were ready to work towards some finished pieces.

Next up –  working in a series: six collages on 6″ x 6″ card

collage

Julie’s second Blog Post: Whimisical Collage in the UK Part Two shows lots of these from the group. You might be able to spot mine in amongst them.

mixed media

The best part – building the layers with stamps and oil pastel lines and scribbles

The next part is wondering if they are finished or not

mixed media collage

The 4 on the left have a story attached to them, but that is for another day ……

Joining in with Kate and her Scrap Happy January band of happy scrappers.

 

 

 

Garden Diary

Whilst blog-hopping I came across this blog: ‘My Garden Diaries’, it’s great, have a look. The title woke up that little nagging voice I have been ignoring for a while. That voice says “keep a garden diary”, so that I can look back and know what I was doing (and when) in the garden.

I want to create an Art Journal style diary, and did make a start – YIKES! back in September 2013!01c

Since then other things keep pushing themselves to the top of the priority list and painting, collaging and journalling seem to have slipped away – (sad face!) So, I have a plan: If anything to do with the garden has happened since my last post, I will add a bit under the title ‘Garden’ at the end of each post.

Yesterday I had the joy of picking a bulging bag of rocket and winter salad leaves that were sown by my Grandchildren with seed I had collected from my own plants. rocketVery satisfying, especially in January. The rocket (that bushy row of green on the right of the raised bed) was sown by Master R back in late summer, it is most peppery and delicious. And it is great to look back at the photos of the children painting the boards of the raised bed boardswith left over house paint (add orange and scarlet to the above mix and you see the colours of my kitchen in my former old thatched cottage – I miss that kitchen and its bright welcome!) raised bedAnd then poster paints for their pictures. Miss E had the brilliant idea of sketching her design with water firstsketch

paint

bed

 

We put the beds together, and filled them with soil and compost (Master R just LOVES making compost!)

 

sow

and sowed seeds in pots ready for planting out later

 

 

wrote labelslabels

and a few weeks later there was planting, weeding, wateringgdn

and more labelling to be done

llabel

 

Arty Crafty Workshops

We’ve been having fun at our Arty Crafty Workshops in the Village Hall.

In the first session we talked about altered books and making our own stamps and stencils:

0c 0c1 0c2For some it was hard to tear out the pages of a book but everyone seemed to enjoy messing about with paint.

Introducing the magically relaxing game of doodling was generally thought to be one of the favourites.

One of the most satisfying comments, for me, on the feedback forms was “Very enjoyable, brought out my inner child” – Hurray! – that’s what I am aiming for – makes me feel all warm a fuzzy inside!! And one feedback form even had some doodles on it – fabulous!

This week, ‘Granny’s Crafty Tricks’ was designed as a workshop for grandparents to have a few craft ideas up their sleeves for when the grandchildren come to stay – especially as the days get shorter and we are looking for things to do inside.

I chose crafts that I have done with my 6 and 4 year old grandchildren, that have a touch of magic about them, and that can also be done in a more sophisticated way with all ages and for oneself if you don’t have any kids to play with.

First tattoo a banana!

0c4

 

 

here’s one I did earlier, using the picture of a butterfly laid over the banana and going round the outlines with a pin.

0c5 Everyone went very quiet as they worked on their designs – and as the Hall has Wifi, I could show all the amazing designs and even some videos on the internet.

And LOOK!!!

0c6 0c7 0c7a

 

a bit of magic for teatime!

Onto pop-up cards – a bit more of a brain tease, but worth it in the end …….. I hope!

0c3 0c8

 

A really wonderful group – up for having a go!

We then played around with names, letters, sigils and mirror writing with some doodling thrown in. As ever, time ran out really quickly and there was just a few minutes at the end to demonstrate decorations that can be made with an empty loo roll. And again I was able show the fabulous examples one can find on the web.

Next week: Messy Play and Sticky Fingers!

Can’t wait!

Preparation

I have been preparing for an Arty Crafty workshop I am running on Thursday. We’ll be doing some Art Journal style album making and I’m getting some examples ready by Gesso-ing lots of altered books

01a

 

making up little packs of stamping and stencilling supplies

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and at the same time …… gardening

I seem to have to grasshopper about – it drives other people mad but it IS part of my creative process and I’ve had to learn to live with it!!

One of my most long-standing and greatest friends gave me a wonderful garden based cornucopia of gardening bits and bobs for my birthday and in it were these cute seed packets

01f

 

from a Somerset company, Pennard Plants.

I didn’t get to sow them this summer but have just sown the half- hardy annuals in one of the veg trugs.

01eI mixed them with sand and sprinkled them in clear shapes as advised by Monty Don (swoon) of BBC2’s Gardener’s World, so that I can see what the young plants look like when they come up. Then they will be all ready to plant out in my new beds in the Spring.

Back to the altered books001A page from a gardening book I am altering, leaving some of the flower pictures shining through.

It got me thinking – I love the Art Journal style but I don’t really want to keep an Art Journal which is why I do photo albums for my grandchildren – BUT a Garden journal – hmm – now01c that might be something I would like to do – a place to keep all the seed packets and a record of what I sow. Now that feels exciting!!

and a way to keep all these lovely seed packets

01a

oh more hours in the day please ……..

 

Altered books

These are the 6 books I am working on at the moment, all bought from charity shops.

altbooks

I am working on them in the ‘Art Journal’ style, which I love , but I will be using them as albums. I have learnt so much from the generosity of other bloggers and I’m sharing some of the tips here – sadly I have not recorded where each tip came from, but most will probably be from the creative blogs listed in the Blogroll on the right.

The photo albums are for each of my 8 grandchildren, containing all the cards, photos and little notes that are sent to them at their Christenings. (2 done, 6 to go) ! I also include some family photos and the family tree.

Rufus (now 3) loves motorbikes so his cards are going in ‘Classic Bikes’.

I have already done Rocket Ru’s, his brother Bertie’s will be in the Winnie-the-pooh book because his Mum LOVES Pooh bear.

altered books

I work on several at once, first I take out the centres of the groups of pages sewn to the spine

pages

as there needs to be room for all the cards and collage that will go into the album.

When I first started doing this it felt so wrong to be tearing up books and painting over text – but I am giving them a new life – and fits with my obsessive need to recycle as much as I POSSIBLY can.

gesso

I use Gesso to cover the text. Hence needing to work on several at a time allowing drying time, between pages.

Gesso has a slightly rough surface when it dries and provides a better key for acrylic paint than the shiny surface of the printed page.

 

There is no need to cover the text completely.

gessoed

pallette

I use acrylic paint and a really good tip I got from a painting course years ago, is to put just a little water under greaseproof paper and then use this as the palette, it stops the paint drying quickly.

 

 

Having Gessoed the books, I can paint in several books at once to start building up the colours and textures. And using a home made stamp of chevrons I also try it out on all sorts of other papers to build up a supply for collage.

at.once

ru.page

A closer look at one of the first pages in Rufus’s book.

riverbank

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